28 February 2018

Liberia: Lawmaker Wants Constitution Rewritten

Nimba County Representative Larry Yonquoi says he wants Liberia's Constitution to be rewritten because it contains so many wrong things that will dilute the essence of conducting any referendum.

"So these are issues that are making us to feel that the Constitution of this country needs to be rewritten because we got so many things wrong with it that ... even if we want to amend, I'm sorry you will not do referendum with over 10 or 15 questionnaire. Then the essence will be diluted," he told State broadcaster ELBC, this week.

He argues that to change even a word in the Constitution, it got to be subjected to referendum, expressing doubt as to how over 10 or 15 questionnaire could be taken to referendum to address the so many problems he sees in the Constitution here.

Discussing one of the problems in the Constitution, Rep. Yonquoi appears to be dissatisfied with a provision in the law that gives the president the power to remove paramount chiefs, clan chiefs and town chiefs from offices for cause because they are appointees.

He notes that if voters stand in the rain and sun to elect their local officials, they can only be removed from offices through impeachment just as it is done to president or lawmakers.

"So if we want the president to have that leverage over them, then let's rewrite it. And the way to do it is through referendum," he notes. But the House Committee Chair on Good Governance says he observes that by the time a president and vice president are elected in every election, nobody talks about paramount chiefs, clan chiefs and town chiefs, even though these local officials carry on official government activities.

"And it is illegal. So I will soon be coming with communication reminding the plenary that if we're not willing to use this one, let us also pass joint resolution that we are not using it because one or two things are wrong," he says. He concludes that the whole Constitution should just be rewritten to get things straighten up.


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